CELebrate 2017: A pedagogical approach to fostering assessment for learning and student engagement through the use of smartphones

A pedagogical approach to fostering assessment for learning and student engagement through the use of smartphones: a practitioner experience.


Different types of assessment abound in existing literature. The focus of the presentation however was on Assessment for Learning which is formative in nature and can be strategised in different ways to enhance the student learning experience.

Whilst different strategies for conducting assessment for learning exist, the one at the nexus of the presentation is ‘engineering effective classroom discussions, questions… that elicit evidence of learning’ (Williams, 2009). Such an assessment strategy can engender student engagement and readiness for learning. In certain circumstances, academics have used the audience response system known as clickers (Caldwell, 2007; DeBourgh, 2007; Martyn, 2007) to conduct formative assessment and engage learners. These clickers are user friendly handheld transmitter or technology used to foster active learning (Caldwell, 2007; Martyn, 2007). They provide opportunities for the presenter to poll responses from the audience on a variety of subjects or lines of enquiry.

In a lecture setting, audience responses can be collected within the framework of assessment for learning and this can form the basis for discussion, introduction of new concepts and elicitation of collective engagement within a learning process. Recently, the use of clickers during lectures can be comfortably replaced with learners’ mobile devices, in which case, Mentimeter, an audience response system using smartphones can be used.

In an age of digital natives, the use of Mentimeter and Smartphones to enhance the learning experience of students may be considered worthwhile. Nonetheless, there is need to consider the pedagogical implications of this intervention. Drawing on an experiential account, the presentation interrogated the complexities involved in using smartphones to conduct assessment for learning and boost student engagement.

The PowerPoint can be accessed here!


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Harlen, W. and James, M., 1997. Assessment and learning: differences and relationships between formative and summative assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice4(3), pp.365-379.

Mayer, R. E., Stull, A., DeLeeuw, K., Almeroth, K., Bimber, B., Chun, D., … & Zhang, H. (2009). Clickers in college classrooms: Fostering learning with questioning methods in large lecture classes. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34(1), 51-57.

Wiliam, D. and University of London. Institute of Education, 2009.Assessment for learning: why, what and how?. London: Institute of Education, University of London.

Yu, F. and Conway, A.R., 2012. Mobile/smartphone use in higher education. Proceedings of the 2012 Southwest Decision Sciences Institute, pp.831-839.


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